PARIS, Aug. 5 (Reuters) – France on Wednesday stepped up financial support to wine growers facing a sharp drop in demand after restaurant and bar closings and U.S. tariffs curbed exports.
“The State will increase its viticulture support plan to 250 million euros and we will ask that this aid be distributed as quickly as possible because the cash flow needs are pressing,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday.
Castex made the announcement during a tour of the Menetou-Salon and Sancerre vineyards in the Loire region.
“The international situation, the health crisis, a drop in exports: our wine sector is facing great difficulties. State support must continue and intensify, ”Castex said on Twitter earlier.
France has already provided some support, but the wine industry has called for more action.
In May, France released a crisis mechanism of 140 million euros (165.87 million dollars) to distill surplus wine into industrial alcohol intended to produce hand sanitizers.
Then in June, the government unveiled an additional 30 million euros in support of the wine industry, including 15 million for the launch of a private storage device for two million hectoliters of surplus wine, an alternative to distillation. .
Besides the impact of COVID-19, the French wine industry has suffered from US tariffs on imports imposed as part of the trade dispute between the European Union and the United States over aircraft subsidies.
In April, the European Commission decided to support crisis management measures in wine and other agricultural sectors affected by the coronavirus crisis.
$ 1 = 0.8440 euros Report by Dominique Vidalon, edited by Louise Heavens, Jane Merriman and Barbara Lewis
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